FC Kansas City will finally get a chance to play at home after five weeks away, and the Blues could not be happier to return to Swope Soccer Village.
They will be host to the Washington Spirit at 7 p.m. Friday hoping to snap a five-game winless streak that includes three losses. Most recently, the Blues fell to the Seattle Reign FC 2-1 on Saturday.
“Traveling is tough, but that is not an excuse for our performances,” FC Kansas City defender Amy LePeilbet said. “It is always nice to be home, and we love our field. To be able to play on a nice, beautiful grass field, we are excited to be here.”
The Blues, who are playing at their third venue in three years, have struggled to gain an advantage on home turf this season. They posted a 7-0-3 record at home last season when they played at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium but have a 1-1-2 mark this year. They are 2-4-0 on the road and rank seventh in the National Women’s Soccer League with a 3-5-2 record.
“This is the first season we have generated more points on the road — uncharacteristically, since we beat Houston and Western New York away and we only got one at home,” FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Hopefully we can get back to ourselves and start winning some games.”
The Blues defense this season has been reliably holding teams to 10 goals in 10 matches, which is tied for best in the league. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart ranks second in the NWSL with three shutouts in nine games.
The offense, on the other hand, has scored the second-fewest goals in the league, with eight in the same span. In the five-game winless streak, the Blues have scored just three goals and allowed six.
Part of the struggle has come from the absence of U.S. women’s national-team players Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Holiday and Heather O’Reilly. Rodriguez and O’Reilly had each scored a goal in their three-game stint with the team earlier this season, and Holiday had an assist.
With that in mind, FC Kansas City added forward Caroline Miller, 23, to the roster as an amateur call-up. Miller was selected in the second round of the inaugural NWSL College Draft in 2013 but suffered a season-ending ankle injury that ended her season after just seven games. She missed all of the 2014 season and returned to play two games this year with the Washington Spirit this summer.
The addition gives the Blues a sixth forward to go with Shea Groom, Liz Bogus, Frances Silva, Sarah Hagen and Caroline Kastor.